DISABILITY AWARENESS GETS BADGE OF HONOUR FROM EASTLEIGH BROTHERS’ NEW BUSINESS
Within a month of its launch, an Eastleigh badge-making business dedicated to raising awareness of disability has already generated hundreds of pounds of sales. However, what makes the start-up’s success even more remarkable is that two of its key employees, brothers Evan and Olly, are just 8 and 6. They also both have disabilities.
Evan, 8, has Down syndrome, a heart warrior and is also a stroke survivor, while Olly, 6, has Autism, is non-verbal and has Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is these conditions, and those of their older brother Sam, that inspired their mum, Stacey Byrne, to set up the Brothers Creative Works Emporium.
“Three of my four sons have disabilities and yet most of my advocacy work was focused on Down syndrome. I wanted to find a way to redress this imbalance and raise awareness of some of the other conditions that we have experienced as a family. Evan has always been a huge fan of badges and I realised that this would be the perfect medium to help give visibility to a whole host of disabilities.
The added advantage of setting up a business like this is that it not only gives the boys a sense of purpose and the chance to be very hands on now, but also hopefully a full-time job opportunity for the future. I’ve always been conscious that there could be some potential challenges to Evan and Olly getting into paid employment when they’re older, so this brings real peace of mind.” Explains Stacey.
Helping to make the badges is not only proving an enjoyable experience for both boys, but a therapeutic one too. Stacey reports that Evan’s ability to follow instruction has improved, as have his fine motor skills and even his speech as he has been learning to say some new words associated with the production process.
The badges, and other items in the range, including trolley coins, hair accessories and zip pulls, have been designed to help celebrate and raise awareness of a host of disabilities, including Prader Willi Syndrome and Parkinson’s Disease, with custom orders possible for any condition not already represented in the collection. In the case of conditions such as dementia, autism and being non-verbal, the badges can also act as a signpost to strangers that the wearer of the badge may need a little extra support or assistance.
Stacey is thrilled with how quickly the business has taken off and has already bought a second badge machine to keep up with the demand. She concludes: “In just four weeks, we have sold hundreds of badges and have even shipped some orders internationally with badges being sent to Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. I’ve been blown away by the volume of positive feedback and messages that we have received. It is giving people the opportunity to have their conditions, and those of their loved ones, recognised and just that simple gesture of wearing a badge is giving them the chance to show their solidarity.”
For further information, or to make an order, Brothers Creative Works Emporium can be found on Etsy or at www.brotherscreativeworks.com.
Further background information about Evan can be found here: Evan’s Survival Story – Brothers Creative Works Emporium
For further press information, please call Stacey Byrne on 07375 502571 or email AwarenessEmporium@gmail.com